J.C. rolled over to an empty bed. She glanced at the clock and saw it was 4 A.M. She could hear the tv in the living room, so she grabbed a shirt and went out to see if Kevin was there.
"Hey," she said softly, sitting next to him on the couch. "What's wrong?"
"Oh, nothing, really," he said. "It looks like you might be able to leave in a few days."
"Oh, um...great," she said. "You, uh...you can get back to...."
They just looked at each other, not sure what to say. They sat in silence for the longest time, each lost in their own thoughts. Finally Kevin realized that they couldn't go on like this, so he thought of something to say.
"So, um..when was your friend's wedding supposed to take place?"
"Yesterday. I wonder when they're going to reschedule."
"Hopefully in the spring," Kevin said with a small chuckle. "Of course, then it will probably rain to the point of flooding."
"Then I'll just have to paddle my way to your house when my car gets stuck," she replied, trying not to cry. Kevin saw the tears simmer in her eyes and pulled her to him, hugging her tightly, not wanting to let her go, ever.
"We can't spend what little time we have left like this," she whispered in her ear. "And we can't act like we'll never see each other again, right?"
"Right," Kevin said. "New York isn't that far away, we're there all the time.....there's nothing stopping you and I for seeing one another.....right?"
"Right," J.C. said. She felt a small bit of ease take over. "We're consenting adults, and given how we feel with one another...."
"Exactly," Kevin said. He brushed a stray lock of hair from her forehead and smiled.
"And there's always the phone, and e-mail....."
"We won't loose touch, I promise."
J.C. took a deep breath and wiped a stray tear from her eye. She definitely felt like it was going to be all right.
They spent the next few hours talking about the little things, favorite colours, favorite foods...non-important things, but things that they felt they needed to know.
They laid in each others arms on the couch and napped, comforted by one another's presence, and when they woke up, they talked some more. It was almost like they were trying to fit a life of togetherness into a few fleeting hours. J.C. made what Kevin considered the best omelette he had ever had in his life, and she told him about when she knew she wanted to be a chef.
"My dad was the cook in the family," she said. "But when he died, my mom, bless her heart, tried. But she just has no knack for it. I was 8 before I realized pasta wasn't necessarily supposed to be crunchy. She took the flew one year when I was about 12 or 13, and I did everything around the house, including cooking. That's when I knew. I had a flair for it. My mom refused to cook again after that, thankfully!"
Kevin laughed then asked "How did your dad die?"
J.C. took a deep breath and concentrated on flipping the omelette before replying.
"He went out for firewood," she said. "I was only 5, so I don't really remember everything....but it was once of the worse blizzards our area had ever gotten. The temperatures were well below zero, and the wind chill factor...well, it was hideously cold. He had to walk a ways to our wood pile, and the snow was deep and very powdery, so it must have been rough going for him. I remember my mom kept looking out the back window, looking for him. After an hour, she put me to bed, and told me, under no circumstances should I get up.......
"You don't....." Kevin started.
"No, I need to tell someone........" J.C. scooped the omelette on to the plates and handed one to Kevin. They sat down and started eating, and she continued.
"I remember hearing Mom putting on her winter coat and stuff, then the back door opened and shut. I laid in my dark room, listening to the wind howl outside of my window. There was this old maple tree right outside, and one of the branches always tapped on the window in the wind. Well, I laid there and started counting the tapping. I was just learning my numbers, so I figured it would be good practice. Sadly, I only knew up to twenty, so when I got there, I would start back over. I counted to twenty about 100 times, it seemed, when I heard the back door open again. I though Mom and Dad were back. I wanted to get up, but didn't since my mom told me I couldn't. Well, she came in a few minutes later and sat on the edge of the bed. 'Nessie,' she said....that was Dad's nickname for me. Mom never used it, so that was my first clue that something was wrong. 'Nessie, Daddy's gone to be with the angels. He won't be coming back.' I didn't really understand it when she first told me. But as the days passed, it really hit me hard. I could only imagine how it must have been for her, finding him laying face down in the snow....It turns out he had tripped in the snow and broke his leg, I'm not sure how.....and he was trying to crawl back to the house, but between the pain, the cold, and the driving snow, never made it........That's why I got that panicked look when you said you were going out...It was too much like then."
Kevin gently placed his hand over hers.
"Don't be. It was a long time ago, and I've since learned that everything happens for a reason. If he hadn't died then, I probably would never have met my friend who's getting married....our dads were roommates in college, but didn't see each other much since we were in Minnesota and they were in Toronto...if I hadn't met her, I wouldn't be here now. But it's kind of a shame. I think Daddy would have liked you." She smiled at him through her tears. Very few people knew how her father died, and those that did know had never heard it from her lips. "Now finish your omelette before it gets cold."
"Yes ma'am," he said as took another bite. "You know, I'm going to miss you for many reasons, including the fact that you cook really good food. I'm going to have to go back to surviving on frozen pizza, hot dogs and beer."
J.C. laughed. "When I get to be a world famous chef, I'll start my own line of frozen foods, just for you."
"Now, be sure you charge a ridiculous amount of money for a small portion of food"
"Of course! I'll do that in my restaurant, too!"
They cleaned up and then went back to the living room. J.C. asked Kevin about his music career, hanging on every little detail.
flashing yellow lights interrupted their talk. They went to the front
window and watched as salt trucks moved up and down the street. The two
looked at each other and knew it was almost over....